This morning I encountered a majestic bald eagle perched on the branch off the shore of a smoky lake.
One of the things I love most about hiking is the unexpected discoveries. Unfortunately, hiking also brings unwanted encounters like washed-out trails, bears, and bees. One time I fell in a creek trying to cross over a washed-out trail and had to trek miles with miserably wet shoes and socks. The thing is, you can’t get to the bald eagle sighting without the struggle of a washed-out trail. The gift and the pain go hand in hand.
I am entering my 23rd summer as a parent navigating summer with children. All 22 summers to date each held unique joys coupled with distinct challenges. I am entering a season in my family where I have fallen deeply in love with the rhythms of summer. I work a little less. My kids are older, so they require less supervision. I travel more and sleep in a little late. It is a slower-paced life with much more margin. Summer feels holy-drenched in worship. But, honestly, this hasn’t always been the case. As a working mom when my children were younger, I dreaded the challenges of juggling my children during the summer while trying to figure out how to work.
Summer is drastically different depending on the season of life for your family. Moms with younger children may be asking how can I get a break from my kids this summer. Moms with older children may be asking how can I get more time with my kids this summer. Families with both parents working all summer may be asking how much TV is too much TV for my kids. Families with a stay at home parent may also be asking how much TV is too much TV for my kids.
In our age of social media, one of the unique challenges every parent is facing this summer is the thief of comparison. Do not let your friends’ perfect Insta story on a Hawaiian beach get you down because the biggest thing you have planned is a trip to the grocery store. Remember, most parents post the highlight reel, and you don’t know the true cost for that aesthetic Hawaiian snapshot. I encourage you to take a break from social media this summer. Put down your phone and be present with your people. Take a moment to embrace what this summer season means for your family.
What challenge does summer bring for my family? What is hard about this summer? Acknowledging the challenge is a powerful tool. ‘Name it to tame it’ brings a healthy perspective to dealing with struggles.
What is the gift? What are you grateful for this summer? What are you looking forward to?
You will never be a parent of this age of your children again. What is different about parenting this summer season than in the past?
What is your intention? Pick a word or theme for your summer. The naming of intention is a powerful life hack. You can’t get to where you are going if you don’t choose the destination first.
May the Lord make His face shine upon you this summer and give you peace!
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